May 9, 2016
What Life Is Like With Anxiety #mentalillnessfeelslike #MHM2016
May is Mental Health month, and every time May rolls around, I always try to write something about mental health and bring more awareness to the issues, especially anxiety. If you've been a long-time follower, you know that Twin suffers from horrible general anxiety as well as social anxiety so it's an important issue to me.
However, instead of focusing on the signs and symptoms of anxiety, this year, I want to talk about it feels like to have a mental illness in a room of people who have no clue what is going on.
Let me tell you a story. About a year or so ago, I asked Twin what it was like to have such horrible anxiety.Her answer surprised me as I really wasn't expecting it. She said that when she was home, her anxiety was pretty much below the 50% chance of a panic attack. But the minute she is around other people (namely strangers), it nearly doubles. Her heart starts racing. She starts feeling nauseous. Her breathing gets shallow. She sometimes feel like she's going to pass out. She wants to get out of the situation as fast as she can, even if it's not possible.
She said living with anxiety is like living with dark cloud always over your head, expecting it to start pouring any minute. It's like looking at every single person and hoping you won't disappoint them or let them down. It's the constant fear that the worst-case scenario in every situation you face will be the one that happens. It's the constant fear of looking like an idiot to every person you meet.
She isn't the only one that feels that way. According to the Life With Anxiety fact sheet, there are over 42.5 million people who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in a given year. While everyone's feelings are different, the fear is constant.
She does have her good days and her bad days, and lucky for us, her good days are starting to outweigh the bad days. In fact, she has more good days in a week than she does bad, so she is on the road to recovery! Her anxiety may never completely leave (since it's like a shadow) but even if she can edge out the anxiety to where she can enjoy her life without the dark stormy cloud hanging over her head every day, then that would be a success.
What does having a mental illness feel like to you? Tell us about it, and on social media, use the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike!
For more information on anxiety and other mental illness, be sure to visit Mental Health America.